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Two sets of parents have filed a federal lawsuit against a Colorado school district after a teacher tricked students into attending an after-school “art club,” where she instead discussed issues of gender and sexuality with the students and told them not to tell their parents what they had been taught.
According to the filing, Jonathan and Erin Lee’s daughter was in the sixth grade at Wellington Middle School (WMS) in the Poudre School District (PSD) in Fort Collins in May 2021. Their daughter (referred to as C.L. in the filing) enrolled at the school while it was mostly virtual due to COVID. As a result, she had difficulty making friends.
After students went back to in-person instruction, an art teacher asked C.L. if she wanted to attend an after-school “GSA Art club.” The teacher did not explain what GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) stood for. C.L., being interested in art, texted her parents to ask if she could attend and her parents gave their permission. What C.L. soon realized was that the club had nothing to do with art.
The art teacher and a school counselor had invited a speaker who is a part-time teacher and runs the organization SPLASH (Supporting Pride Learnings and Social Happenings). The speaker purportedly told those in the club that if they were not completely comfortable in their bodies it meant they were transgender. For students who “came out” as transgender, the speaker awarded LGBTQ items such as toys, flags, and other “swag.”
Feeling pressure and wanting to receive an item, C.L. also declared she was transgender. The speaker “repeatedly emphasized” to the students that it might not be safe to tell their parents what had happened at the GSA meeting or to discuss transgender subjects with their parents.
However, the speaker told the students that it would be safe to discuss these issues with her or the art teacher and gave students her phone number and encouraged them to contact her via Discord at any time. The speaker told the students that they now had a higher likelihood of committing suicide because they identified as transgender. Other topics discussed in the meeting included polyamory, puberty blockers, transgenderism and other gender identities, sexual orientations, changing names and pronouns, and keeping the discussions at GSA secret from parents.
After returning home, C.L. informed her parents that she would be transitioning despite never having expressed any thoughts about being transgender before the meeting. The Lees disenrolled their daughter from WMS and enrolled her at a private Christian school. Before the meeting, C.L. did not fully know what suicide was; however, after the club meeting she underwent “months-long emotional decline of gender and sexuality confusion that required counseling and included suicidal thoughts.”
Also part of the lawsuit are Nick and Linnaea Jurich, whose daughter, H.J., was also solicited to attend the GSA meetings by the art teacher. H.J., encouraged by a transgender friend, told her parents that she wanted to stay for an after-school “Anime club” and they approved. While at the GSA club, she was taught about gender fluidity and was told that gender “assignment” at birth can be a mistake by parents or doctors. The art teacher told students that if they did not like their bodies they were most likely “not the gender they were ‘assigned’ at birth.”
H.J. was also taught that there is a higher risk of suicide for those who are transgender. The art teacher told the students that if anyone asks about what is discussed in the club they did not have to tell anyone. She also told students that their parents may not be the best people to discuss transgender topics with. H.J. was invited to attend a SPLASH meeting after going to another GSA meeting. H.J. did not attend any more GSA meetings, but the next school year, the art teacher invited her “multiple times” to resume attending GSA.
After the first meeting, H.J. started experiencing suicidal thoughts and later left her parents a note saying that she was “aromantic” and “asexual.” Her friendships deteriorated and she was not comfortable with the possibility of taking classes with the art teacher. She eventually asked to be homeschooled, and shortly after attempted suicide by drinking an ounce of bleach. H.J. “recognized and verbalized” that her troubles started when she attended the GSA meeting.
In response, school district officials stated that GSA meetings are confidential and can’t be discussed with parents:
“In PSD, we promise to create and uphold equitable, inclusive, and rigorous educational opportunities, outcomes, and experiences for all students. As a district, we are committed to making our schools safe spaces in which all students can learn. Genders and Sexualities Alliances, or GSAs, were established as safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, allies, and any individual to come together with the goals of ensuring inclusivity, safety, and support. Discussions in GSAs may be confidential given that they can sometimes be sensitive in nature (i.e. a student may be ‘out’ with specific friends but not with the community at large).”
The club was not created in isolation. The legal challenge notes that the district’s “Guidelines Supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Nonconforming Students” tells teachers to hide a child’s choice of preferred pronouns and name from their parents. The district also requires that teachers use a student’s preferred name and pronouns at school but use their sex-specific pronouns and birth name when speaking or writing to parents. If parents ask a teacher if their child uses a preferred name or pronouns, the teacher is to refuse to answer and direct them to the school counselor. The counselor then uses “their professional judgment” to decide whether the parents are allowed to know if their child uses a preferred transgender name or pronouns.
America First Policy Institute (AFPI) and Illumine Legal filed the suit on May 3. Pam Bondi, AFPI’s chair of constitutional litigation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation,
“It’s our responsibility to protect [children’s] innocence and stop those who are abusing their taxpayer-funded position to force a radical political agenda onto our nation’s youth. This lawsuit seeks to return the power to parents by reinforcing their Constitutional right to govern their child’s education and protect their future.”
Unfortunately, schools all over the nation have similar policies to that of Wellington Middle School. Many parents likely do not know that woke teachers are encouraging their child to be transgender — and to lie to their parents. Erin Lee noted that some parents went a full year before learning about the club their children participated in.
This issue of hiding children’s gender confusion from parents is so pervasive, in fact, that some states have passed laws or are considering bills to mandate that schools tell parents if a child asks to use a new name or different pronouns. Some teachers have sued school districts for requiring them to deceive parents. Districts are not only teaching kids about LGBT subjects without informing their parents but they are teaching children that their parents are not to be trusted and that it is not safe to talk to them about their feelings or confusion.
This cannot be allowed to stand. Parents are responsible for directing the raising of their child, not LGBT activists. More states should pass laws that require schools to notify parents if their child is having gender confusion and that bar schools from teaching children about transgenderism and sex.
Psalm 127:3 states,
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Parents, God has given you your children and they are a gracious gift. You must fervently guard them with everything you’ve got. Ask questions of your child daily and ensure that no one is filling their head with harmful ideas.
Better yet, if you live in a state that is not standing up against radical gender ideology in education, you should do everything possible to homeschool or enroll in a private school. Why? Because, as noted earlier, situations like this one at Wellington Middle School are no longer the exception but the rule.
Somewhere in the last few years, too many teachers and administrators at public schools (and even some private schools) have decided they have every right to take over your parenting responsibility. For this reason, they can no longer be trusted, and parents must act and decide accordingly.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.